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Essential Skills Required to Thrive as a Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist Assistant

By July 26, 2023May 3rd, 2024No Comments
Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist Assistant

As you embark on your vision to have a career that empowers patients as they heal, helping them get back to vibrant living and learn how to be a physiotherapist assistant or take on occupational therapy assistant programs, there’s a skillset you need to succeed. While a physio course or occupational therapy program will indeed delve into the technical aspects of how to assist in the treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of physical or developmental impairments, there are qualities beyond these that a professional in this field must cultivate.

7 Skills and Qualities of Thriving Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist Assistants


1. Comprehensive Communication

To succeed in your role, both working under the direction of licensed physio therapists and occupational therapists and with patients, above all, you need to know how to communicate effectively. Giving directions clearly, explaining in terms your patients can understand and implement, empowers the patient to succeed in tasks. Being able to listen intently and respond to both verbal and non-verbal clues about the support they need, physically and emotionally, builds trust. Flowing and open communication, within a strong relationship will help in your client’s healing and therapy. And to be able to communicate clearly and succinctly with your direct reports and team, will allow them to know they can count on you, and this will help you flourish in your career.

2. Creative Problem Solving

While an occupational therapist/physiotherapy assistant program and physical therapy courses will give you the tools required to assess various conditions of those you treat, challenges that people face are as varied as they are. You need to assess, adapt, and develop potential plans to address distinct issues effectively and present them to your team with confidence. This comes from a passion for problem solving and an ability to combine that with #1, communicating effectively and efficiently.

3. Superior Organization

Attention to detail, record keeping, scheduling, filling out forms, keeping charts, treatment plans and files in order, so that your various team members can all do their jobs effectively, are all par for the course of being a physiotherapy/occupational therapist assistant. Your organization skills must be top notch as they instrumental to the success of those you work with and those you serve.

4. True Compassion and Empathy

People come to you and your team at a time of incredible vulnerability in their lives and are often desperate for physical and emotional support. Their ability to heal depends not only on the assessment and treatment plans designed to meet their conditions and goals, but also on their emotional engagement in the process. Your ability to offer that authentic, kind, compassionate understanding, and empathy, while encouraging and empowering them, is essential to their success. And in turn, this is essential to your success in this career in the short and long term.

5. Infinite Patience

Each person will heal in their own time, treatment plans that you and your team thought may work sometimes won’t, progress you imagined may not flow within the timeframe you’d hoped. All these situations, and your patients at every point in turn, are served by patience (in combination with the points above). Patients under pressure or stress will not heal as efficiently or effectively as those who aren’t and, dare we say, they may not always be cooperative. Your ability to relieve stress, flow, take the pressure off while still guiding positively, and remaining patient through it all, can make all the difference.

6. Fabulous Flexibility

Hand in hand with all that we’ve shared above, flexibility is the key to being able to adapt on the fly based on needs, emotions, and the technical glitches of the day. Cancelations, postponed appointments, working with a child one day and a senior the next, a client who’s responsive versus one who’s resistant – there is an endless need for you to adjust your day, and your ways of approach and you must be able to flow accordingly and succeed in spite.

7. Physical Strength and Stamina

This list would not be complete without this essential skill as a part. In addition to the emotional support you provide as an occupational/physical therapy assistant, you will also provide physical support. A foundation of physical ability, solid strength and a keen eye on what is required to maintain your own self care and stamina is essential to thrive long-term in this field.
If this list of skills resonates and you can see yourself taking physiotherapy courses in Ontario, or working in a sports injury clinic, a hospital or even with an insurance agency empowering people to heal and get to the next level of vibrant living, then this career may be for you. While it takes a special person to shine in this thriving profession, if you have the passion, we believe you have what it takes to succeed.

Still deciding? Take the “Anderson College Medical Professional Career Discovery Quiz”

But if you’re ready to take on your first, or next, amazing career as a Physiotherapist & Occupational Therapist Assistant, then we’re here to help you navigate your way. Book a virtual appointment with one of our supportive Admissions advisors today and let’s get you started, shall we?

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